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Hagel Correctly Points out Influence of pro-Israeli Lobby in Politics
The future Sec. of Defense Chuck Hagel is correct in pointing out the influence of the pro-ISRAEL lobby, especially from CUFI and AIPAC. Being honest in politics is dangerous, as one statement however true can be blown out of proportion by enemies. Any bets on upcoming cozyness between neoconservative warmongers and so-called "outraged gays" or "antifas" who dislike Hagel for leaning right despite his greater anti-war stance than most Democrats?
Based upon some poorly worded statements made 14 years ago the neoliberal media machine joins forces with neoconservative warmongers to derail Chuck Hagel's nomination for Sec. of Defense. Like i said before, with friends like these, who needs enemies?
"Maddow slams Hagel, to neocon applause"
by Philip Weiss on December 22, 2012
"The war against Chuck Hagel to be Defense Secretary continues. Rachel Maddow concludes this short segment, "Sorry, Charlie" on Chuck Hagel's homophobic comment of 14 years ago with the statement, "I do not know if President Obama wants to nominate Chuck Hagel or not. But if he is, so far it's not going all that well."
Hagel has apologized for the statement.
"My comments 14 years ago in 1998 were insensitive," he said, NBC News reported. "They do not reflect my views or the totality of my public record, and I apologize to Ambassador Hormel and any LGBT Americans who may question my commitment to their civil rights.”
But Maddow picked up a Washington Post item saying that the object of the 1998 slur, James Hormel, does not accept Hagel's apology.
Notes a friend: Dan Senor is retweeting the criticism of Hagel. This gives the lobby the cover they need. Remember after they sank Chas Freeman they claimed it was all about China and Saudi Arabia. They need a smokescreen to say it wasn't all about Israel.
Andrew Sullivan has characterized this as a "classic" underhanded smear campaign, and pointed out that Hagel voted in 2006 to oppose a ban on same-sex marriage:
A secretary of defense nominee should not be disqualified because he said something retrograde on a non-defense issue fifteen years ago. In the most dangerous scenario gay activists have faced - a potential constitutional amendment to consign us permanently to second class status - Hagel voted no.
If we dug up everything everyone said about the gay lifestyle fourteen years ago i'm certain that we could find additional words of ignorance coming from the mouths of many, both Republicans and Democrats. Since Obama himself repealed the "dont' ask don't tell" policy in the military, it is very doubtful that he will nominate a Sec. of Defense who is homophobic.
The other statement made by Hagel being exploded out of context is the "Jewish lobby" quote, maybe should be better phrased as the "pro-Israel lobby" consisting of Christians United for Israel (CUFI) and (AIPAC). This is unusual honesty for a professional politician and i for one am glad to hear some honest talk for a change!!
Here is some background on the influences of the pro-Israel lobby;
"Christian Extreme Right and AIPAC"
AIPAC Goes All the Way with Hagee
Rev. Hagee Does AIPAC
A real historic turning point came for aipac when it opened up its coveted platform to Rev. John Hagee, who is founder of the organization "Christians United for Israel" (CUFI) at their annual Policy Conference (March 2007) in Washington DC . He was a keynote speaker on Sunday night, and the response to his speech (that can be read in full here) was enthusiastic overall. Yet even among aipac faithful there was trepidation. After all, Hagee's agenda, like that of the Christian Zionist Right in general, is extremely militaristic (he believes that the coming "nuclear showdown with Iran is a certainty"). He even has implied support for Yigal Amir, the assassin of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. He opposes any compromise with Palestinians. Hagee's ideology also is anti-Semitic in that he believes that the "rebellion" of the Jews caused the Holocaust, and that the Holocaust was God's way of forcing Jews to move to Israel. So this is a new and dangerous alliance, an embrace of a real loony ideology. Thanks to the leadership of AIPAC, the likes of Hagee has now been brought to the mainstream. He shares a stage not only with Dick Cheney but also with "liberal" Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. Strange bedfellows indeed.
"The American Jewish Committee was the latest Jewish organization to enlist in the battle to prevent President Barack Obama from naming former Nebraska senator Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense. The onslaught is unprecedented. Never before has virtually the entire organized Jewish community combined to stop a presidential cabinet appointment because it deems the potential nominee insufficiently devoted to Israel. Of course, below the cabinet level, the lobby has been manning the barricades against critics of any Israeli government policies for decades.
The onslaught against Hagel is unique however because the reason for it is not merely that he opposes the rush to war with Iran and favors negotiating an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The reason is because he dared to refer to the existence of the Israel lobby. He said this in 2008 in an interview with former State Department official, Aaron Miller.
This [Congress] is an institution that does not inherently bring out a great deal of courage,” Hagel continued. “Most of the time members play it safe and adopt an ‘I’ll support Israel’ attitude. AIPAC comes knocking with a pro-Israel letter, and ‘then you’ll get 80 to 90 senators on it. I don’t think I’ve ever signed one of the letters.’
When someone would accuse him of not being pro-Israel because he didn’t sign the letter, Hagel told me he responds: “‘I didn’t sign the letter because it was a stupid letter.” Few legislators talk this way on the Hill. Hagel is a strong supporter of Israel and a believer in shared values. “The Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here,” but as he put it, “I’m a United States senator. I’m not an Israeli senator.”
That quote will likely doom Hagel’s candidacy because, if there is one institution that isconsidereduntouchable, it is the Israel lobby and its power.
Here is Wall Street Journal columnist Brett Stephens, a major neocon and Netanyahu supporter, on the implications of Hagel’s remarks.
Prejudice – like cooking, wine-tasting and other consummations – has an olfactory element. When Chuck Hagel, the former GOP senator from Nebraska who is now a front-runner to be the next secretary of Defense, carries on about how “the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here,” the odor is especially ripe.
Ripe because a “Jewish lobby,” as far as I’m aware, doesn’t exist. No lesser authorities on the subject than John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, authors of “The Israel Lobby,” have insisted the term Jewish lobby is “inaccurate and misleading, both because the [Israel] lobby includes non-Jews like Christian Zionists and because many Jewish Americans do not support the hard-line policies favored by its most powerful elements.”….
Ripe because the word “intimidates” ascribes to the so-called Jewish lobby powers that are at once vast, invisible and malevolent; and because it suggests that legislators who adopt positions friendly to that lobby are doing so not from political conviction but out of personal fear. Just what does that Jewish Lobby have on them?
In short, Hagel is an anti-Semite because he stated that the “Jewish lobby” both exists and “intimidates…”
It is true that it is impolitic to use the term “Jewish lobby” rather than “Israel lobby” although the very same people criticizing Hagel for using the former term objected just as vehemently when Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer used the latter in their book on the subject. In any case, the term Jewish lobby is accurate when one refers to organizations like the American Jewish Committee or the Anti-Defamation League, etc. They are Jewish organizations and not AIPAC, the registered Israel lobby.
As for the non-Jews and Christian Zionists that are supposedly part of the lobby, that is just silly. Having worked on Capitol Hill for 20 years, I can attest to the fact that the only voices that matter in Washington on this issue comes from Jews. The lobby contributes millions of dollars to candidates based on its determination of his or her devotion to Israel. No non-Jewish organization does that. The whole “Christian Zionist” thing is a joke and will be until John Hagee’s Christians United For Israel starts pouring money into our campaigns. And to BOTH parties.
Of course, the irony about the war on Hagel is that it has been launched against him because he says that the lobby acts as one to intimidate policymakers and legislators and the lobby screams that there is no such thing as an organized lobby that does these things.
Here is a list (not comprehensive) of those who have enlisted in the campaign against Chuck Hagel:
•American Jewish Committee
•The Anti-Defamation League
•Republican Jewish Coalition
•National Jewish Democratic Council
•The Israel Project
•The Zionist Organization of America
•Plus, Bill Kristol, Jennifer Rubin, Fred Hiatt of the Washington Post, Ed Koch
This list is only partial. Virtually all Jewish organizations, politicians and media figures are under pressure to condemn Hagel and many of them will. To its credit J Street is supporting Hagel and Israel Policy Forum has long been in the Hagel camp (it honored him for his support for Israel’s security in 2008).
But the others are all marching in lockstep to destroy a senator, a war hero (highly decorated Marine) and one of the most thoughtful public officials on foreign policy matters. I say “destroy” because the charge of anti-Semitism can and does destroy. If Obama decides not to pick Hagel (and he probably will so decide), this great American will be tarred forever by the charge.
The good news is that the lobby will be shown to be precisely what its critics say it is. It is an organized machine, dedicated to the interests of the Israeli right that uses its power to ensure that no one in our government ever challenges Israel’s government on anything. Of course, it is unlikely that the media will even report the story.
In the wake of last week’s horrors in Connecticut, the media is talking almost endlessly about the sickening power of the gun lobby. But the gun lobby doesn’t come close to AIPAC’s power to intimidate. After all, as I said, everyone discusses the NRA and what should be done about it. Virtually no one in the media discusses the Israel lobby. If Hagel is rejected by Obama, don’t expect David Gregory, Rachel Maddow, or any of the rest of them to explain why. They can’t. They are afraid. But they are not afraid of the NRA. Doesn’t that tell you something?
Fortunately, there is the blogosphere (again, most of the major bloggers are intimidated into silence on the lobby but not all) where the most prominent voice of all, former New Republic editor Andrew Sullivan does have the guts to speak out. He says:
Like a kabuki dance, here it comes: the usual vile insinuations; the usual call for the Greater Israel Lobby to kill a nomination because a US Senator actually believe his job is to care first about the security and interests of the US, not Greater Israel; the reflexive equation of opposition to the Netanyahu administration or the settlements or the Gaza wars with pure bigotry. The phrases – “the odor is especially ripe” – are as preeningly self-righteous as they are toxic. You are not allowed, for example, to note that well-financed organized Washington lobbies “intimidate” lawmakers:
the word “intimidates” ascribes to the so-called Jewish lobby powers that are at once vast, invisible and malevolent; and because it suggests that legislators who adopt positions friendly to that lobby are doing so not from political conviction but out of personal fear.
It’s interesting to read this familiar, exhausted, ridiculous whine in the context of our current discussion about the NRA. The NRA is routinely called the gun lobby and it is described in exactly the same terms as AIPAC: “vast, invisible and malevolent” – because it is precisely as effective and relentless and as fanatical as AIPAC in wielding money, networking and political pressure in attaining its legislative goals. But we are forbidden from calling AIPAC what it is the way we call the NRA what it is – because telling the truth about it has been stigmatized as anti-Semitism.
It’s a useful ruse for bullies like the Greater Israel Lobby. It’s also an insult to those who have suffered and been murdered by actual anti-Semites. But for utopian fanatics, if casually calling honorable public servants anti-Semites helps them retain their dream of a Greater Israel, so be it. Which is why the president, if indeed he is contemplating an appointment for the Nebraska Republican, should not listen to the AIPAC thugs. He should what is right for this country, and not any other’s.
Sullivan leaves out one thing. The Israel Lobby is bad for the Jews. It suggests that Jewish Americans put the interests of a foreign country first which is a damnable lie. As every poll shows, Jewish Americans not only don’t vote based on Israel, they are not overly Israel centered at all. Moreover, those of us who do deeply care about Israel (although not more than we care about our own country) believe that the best way to support Israel is to work for peace with the Palestinians and to oppose war with Iran just as Hagel does. The lobby knows that but it has higher goals: making our government tremble, supporting Binyamin Netanyahu, and scaring Jews into donating more money to their respective organizations.
In short, the lobby is bad for America. But it’s worse for Jews.
How dare these hacks and lobbyists jeopardize our future in the best home Jews have ever had?"
We need to ask ourselves why do we really support Israel? For religion or for a Zionist settler state that provides military leverage against the Muslim nations who hold the oil under their sands?
As far as the usual cynical response from the anarchists and uber-leftists, i for one would rather have LESS work protesting military occupations than MORE work protesting. By choosing a Sec. of Defense who is known to be adverse to military spending it will make the jobs of anti-war protesters easier and we can focus on other relevent issues like protecting the environment.
Those who believe in E.T. (yeah, it's the Alligatorian friend again!) find it comical that our faith in evolution of intelligent reptiles on other worlds is seen as bizarre while so many humans have faith in invisible spirit beings and then fight other humans who have faith in different invisible spirit beings!
Thanks to Chuck Hagel for pointing out the influence of the pro-Israeli lobby. As someone who is "aggressively bisexual" and proud of it i can forgive the comment made 14 years ago. From now on just say "pro-Israeli lobby" instead of "Jewish lobby" and you will be more accurate.
The AIPAC and CUFI money from lobbyist is cash from and for the benefit of the military-industrial complex, and the neo-conservatives who attack Chuck Hagel are their top cheerleaders. We the people of the U.S. do not want this blood money from AIPAC and CUFI intruding on our politics any longer!
AIPAC and CUFI lobbyists have plenty more blood money waiting for their politician puppets!
"Money for blood
Don't take that cash away!"
"God said take from the rich and give to the poor,
He did not say take from the poor and give to the rich!"